From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up—This massive work is designed to be informative and "enjoyable reading." The more than 450 entries (events, phrases, people) include each state and each presidential election, but not each candidate or winner. Many entries-"Battleground States," "Catholic Vote," "Farm Vote," "Issue Ownership Theory," "Nonvoters," "Voter Alienation"-are clear explanations of phrases heard in the news. Large issues, such as campaigns, are divided into subsets, e.g., "Campaigns, Local," and "Campaigns, U.S. Representatives." References to the 2008 campaigns are included. Articles vary in their approach; some state entries are political histories, whereas others recount the state's history from its Native American roots to today. Each entry has fine cross-references and a bibliography. Frequent black-and-white photographs mostly depict politicians and issues related to campaigns (such as images of hospital patients in "Healthcare"). For the most part, the Encyclopedia
reaches its goals; however, a few sections are weak, including a skimpy "Political Climate" (covering only 2006 and 2008). One glaring error: Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas is a Democrat, not a Republican, as she is described. Historical information on suffrage, the black vote, and each presidential election is excellent. Overall, a first-rate resource, and yes, pleasantly readable.—Linda Beck, Indian Valley Public Library, Telford, PA
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The years 2007–2008 have provided the most interesting primary season in recent memory, reawakening interest in voting and campaigns for all. The Encyclopedia of U.S. Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior arrives into this fertile area as a source that looks at its subject in a comprehensive way, examining the campaign process and investigating how the voters make their choices. Much of the encyclopedia, which is arranged A–Z, is taken up by articles on each state and on each election. The articles on the states begin with a bit of state history, follow the political and partisan changes that occurred, and note the roles that the states played in specific elections. Very important state events like the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary have their own articles. Entries on presidential elections are in chronological order, from Presidential campaign of 1789 to Presidential campaign of 2008. This series of entries makes fascinating reading, showing that the modern issues of contested votes, smear campaigns, and hot-button issues are not so modern after all. Other entries cover topics such as Campaign reforms, Gender gap, Libertarian Party, and Religion and voting behavior. There are extensive see also references and sizable bibliographies with each article. Front matter includes a readers’-guide section that groups articles by topic and a chronology that covers important election-related events. The second volume ends with a glossary of terms and an appendix with U.S. Census data on voter registration cross-tabbed with various population characteristics. A resource guide lists books, articles, and Web sites. Both volumes contain the comprehensive index. As interesting as this is, there is a fair amount of similar material already available on a library’s shelves, most of which comes from CQ Press. Elections A to Z (2003), though much smaller and with a more general focus, provides similar information. Likewise, CQ’s Guide to U.S. Elections (2005) offers excellent coverage, and the online version is regularly updated. Libraries with comprehensive collections in elections and political science will want to own the Sage title. Other libraries should assess what they already have before they buy. Also available as an e-book. --Danise Hoover